Sick of the world? Me, too. Let me divert you.
I like looking at YouTube videos and other blogs that chronicle the everyday activities of someone else’s life. It’s both reassuring and fun to see that we all basically have the same rhythm to our lives that encompasses everything from humdrum chores, to work, to family ties and responsibilities, and an innate need for some kind of leisure activity or down time. This sameness, no matter where we are from or what we look like, reminds us we are all created in the image of God and that He has bound us to need each other as humans.
So, with that in mind, let me take you through some of the things I’ve been up to lately. Along the way you will find some cats, a brief snapshot of the music I’ve been listening to, a little sewing project, and a few meals. Of course, there will be a fair few birds, too.
I think I’ve learned some important lessons while photographing wild birds that have resonated with me as pretty good general advice for life, especially at this time. 1. Be patient, nature works on its own schedule and at its own pace. 2. Always be ready, opportunity only lasts a few seconds . 3. Only about 10% of the media (in my case, photos I take) is worth keeping, the other 90% is missing the picture and destined for the trash can. 4. Remember that everything you see on your screen is only what you can see through the lens, you have to look up to get the whole picture. Conversely, not everything in the big picture is worth focusing in on. 5. Keep a sharp eye out for the things that are beautiful and zoom in on them.
(Yep, I like Monty Python. If you have to ask what I mean, don’t bother.)
No matter what, I always have my box with me when I go out back onto the patio. I keep it stocked with “essential” bird watching gear including: my camera, a couple of field guides, binoculars, sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, a tub of Vaseline to keep the squirrels away (I’ll explain later in the post) and a hankie to wipe the sweat out of my eyes. I take it outside with me even when birding isn’t my first priority. For example, as in the last picture above, I needed something to use as paperweights to keep the pages from turning in the wind. As I’m sure you can tell, it is my box of many wondrous things!
EWW! As my cup says, I’m a CAT Person NOT an entomologist. It looks like I need to either add bug spray or something with citronella to my box.
Rain or shine, I love our backyard. I had no idea River Birches shed leaves all summer but they sure do.
When the birds are thin on the ground or I just need a breath of fresh air, I often have music playing in the background while on the back patio. It sure helps me pass the time pleasantly as I sit in my rocking chair and soak up the lovely, golden, warm rays of vitamin D. I guess my mood was kinda jivin’ on this day!
As I’ve written before (here’s the link: https://amysaxons.com/2019/07/10/when-music-sounds-gone-is-the-earth-i-know/), I love all kinds of music and that definitely includes big band and songs from the 1940s. One of my favorite artists from that era was the British singer Vera Lynn, who was widely known as the “Forces’ Sweetheart” to the English troops. Sadly, she passed away last month aged 103.
We added a wren box (L) and another bluebird box (R) to our backyard habitat. We’ll have to wait until next year to see if anyone moves in. Fingers crossed!!
As I looked out the patio door one morning, I found this Goldfinch on the stem of this Shasta Daisy picking the petals out one by one and eating the exposed seeds. I had no idea a stem could hold the weight of a bird, much less that a Goldfinch would destroy the flower piece by piece for the seeds. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. I knew it would fly away if I opened the door so I got this shot by putting the lens of my camera through the slats of the blind and hoped the glass tint on the door wouldn’t result in just a blurry shadow. I ended up having to play with the saturation to make the picture clear, but it worked. It’s a favorite of mine simply because it reveals a part of the secret life of a Goldfinch that I never knew existed.
Quite happily, we have had a surge in Titmice the last couple of weeks. They make me think of my Grandma Lois who always told me they were friendly birds.
Well, it turns out that most of the birds I have labeled as Purple Finches in previous posts are actually House Finches. I think I can tell the difference now; these are all House Finches. They are probably the most common birds we have at the feeders, but their songs are anything but common. The male has a most beautiful, lilting, various note call that not even Mozart or Schubert could have written.
One of my favorite visitors to the feeders is a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. This one is particularly gorgeous.
The blue rim around a Mourning Dove’s eyes is stunning!
Who doesn’t love Northern Cardinals? They are a beautifully vibrant red and are always chipper. The bottom Cardinal is a juvenile male. I think he pretty convincingly makes the point that no matter what species you belong to, teenage years are awkward. HA!
I hadn’t seen our little Downy Woodpecker for a few days, I was glad to see him at the suet feeder today.
He likes the safflowers and black oil sunflower seeds in the feeders, too. I guess the house finch doesn’t mind to share.
I’ve greased the bird feeder poles and the tops of the feeders with Vaseline to keep these little Houdini’s out of the birdseed. They were not best pleased, but they still let me snap a couple of pictures of them.
I’d never seen a bluebird do this before. He stayed stock-still prostrate for a good 20 seconds or so. Does anyone know what he is doing??
He flew up to the fence and seemed to be just fine after he was all splayed out.
I think the first picture of this cute little Chipping Sparrow is funny. He or she is pretty friendly and not too skittish when I’m outside.
Our first Carolina Wren!!
Maybe it will come back next spring and nest in our new wren box!
This, my friends, is what an armload of love looks like. Our arms are full nearly all day, every day with these two.
I’ve been working on some little Christmas tree ornaments on and off for a few weeks. I’ve sewn some on a machine but I am finishing the rest by hand because it is hard to sew the seams around the buttons. Handmade is more special anyway, I guess. That and I needed a little project to put in my new sewing box!
I love to cook so eating most meals at home hasn’t been too big of a deal for us. Clockwise from the top left: egg salad sandwich with fresh veg, an orange, and honey wheat pretzels; summer salad with avocado and roasted mixed nuts, apple, and pretzels; beef-lentil stew divided into single-serve meals for the freezer (they keep us alive when the ol’ MS makes me too tired to cook); sloppy joe, mixed summer fruit, and salad; and BBQ boneless pork chop with garlic smashed potatoes, a salad, and an orange. Since hubby has been working from home we have been getting chicken salad sandwiches for lunch on Thursdays from Spring Creek Tea Room–it’s our favorite meal of the week. I”ll try to remember to take a picture of it this week for another post. It’s hard not to dive right in the second you see and smell it!!
I made strawberries and cream for dessert after lunch on the 4th of July – mmm! Hubby and I split this Dutch Baby I made for dinner before all the fireworks around the neighborhood went off on the 4th. It was absolutely DELICIOUS, especially with the leftover strawberries and cream spooned over it. I have been getting hungry mid-afternoon lately and usually eat an apple or banana to tie myself over. Today I decided to splurge and have graham crackers with peanut butter topped with banana and a few Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips. As my sister says, “Yum-a-lum-a-ding-dong!!”
So, to end this peek into my life, here is a picture of me sweating it out under one of our River Birches this afternoon catching a few last minute photos while wearing my favorite cat shirt. I know life can feel hard these days, so dig your claws in and hang in there! God be with you.
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